Each of us enters this sanctuary with a different need,
Some hearts are full of peace and gratitude,
Overflowing with love and joy.
They are eager to confront the day, to make the world a better place.
They are recovering from illness, or have escaped misfortune.
We rejoice with them.
Some hearts ache with sorrow;
Disappointments weigh heavily on them.
Families have been broken; loved ones lie on a bed of pain;
Death has taken a cherished loved one.
May our presence and caring bring them comfort.
Some hearts are embittered;
Ideals are betrayed and mocked, answers sought in vain,
Life has lost its meaning and value.
May the knowledge that we, too, are searching
Restore our hope, and renew our faith.
(Rabbi Chaim Stern, in our Mishkan Tefillah prayerbook)
At the heart of our spiritual life at Am Shalom are our prayer services. With so much richness in our Reform movement, we seek to offer a variety of experiences that strive to meet the ever-evolving spiritual needs of our community. Through these prayer experiences, we seek to combine music, poetry, meditation, and learning with the blessings of a shared communal experience.
At Am Shalom, we have two primary worship spaces, our sanctuary and the Rosenfield Chapel. Both are spaces created specifically for worship and prayer in our community. Worship, however, is not limited only to these two places, and we often pray in our Social Hall, the Crown Room, and our Library as well. In the summer, our Friday night services are held in our beautiful courtyard.
For most people, the time spent in worship is holy and special. We invite you to add your voice in song and prayer, to whatever degree you feel comfortable. We also ask you to silence cell phones and pagers, to help everyone find a space of holiness.
All Are Welcome
Wherever we pray, we hope to include and support adults and children of all abilities and needs. We have hearing devices available for our sanctuary space for those who need them. We ask that you let us know how we can make the worship experience as comfortable for you and your family as possible.
What Should I Wear?
Kippot, also called yarmulkes, are worn on the head by those who choose to do so. While traditionally worn by men, at Am Shalom we welcome and encourage all adults to try on this custom. The tallit, or prayer shawl, is typically worn at morning services, and all Jews over the age of bar/bat mitzvah are welcome to don this traditional worship gear. Kippot and tallit are available at the entrance to our worship space.
At Am Shalom, we use the Mishkan Tefillah siddur (prayerbook), published by the Reform movement. This prayerbook contains both English and Hebrew, as well as transliteration, and has beautiful linguistic choices that we feel enhance our prayer on many levels. We hope you'll enjoy looking through the siddur and browsing many of the different poems, readings, and prayers.